Keep K163 Going

White Metalling Coupled Rod Bearings

It has been awhile since we last updated, but progress on K163 has steadily continued where it can safely in the current environment. Some major components are being completed as we move into the next phase of the project. Covid19 has had a tremendous impact on the Mornington Railway and our ability to complete the project. We would like to take the time to thank all of our donors for the tremendous generosity to date which is assisting enormously.

K163s wheelsets have been returned (with crank pin repairs completed) to Newport railway workshops, from our contractor Inver Engineering. It is great to see components now returning, and we are excited for the day when we can start the reassembly process. The arrival of the wheelsets is a major milestone achieved.

Finalisation of axlebox measurements has been achieved, lots of diligence and iterations has been taken to ensure this aspect or the job is the best it can be. White metalling of axleboxes has begun as a consequence and we are excited to see these major components progress. Update on this aspect of the project to follow shortly.

In parallel, the process of remetalling the coupling rod and big-end bearings has begun, with two coupling rod bearings now filled with whitemetal. Whitemetal is a special alloy used in steam engines for plain bearings. It doesn’t come cheap at over $35 /kg especially considering over 150kg is required for this project! The process of preparation, tinning and pouring has been well established now to move forward on the rest of the bearings. A mold for the leading, trailing and intermediate coupling rod bearings has been constructed and successfully used. Design and construction of the big end bearing and driving position bearing molds is underway, we hope to complete the molds as soon as possible so that we may finalise the remetalling process during July. Once the remetalling is completed the bearings will be machined to final size (to suit the newly repaired crank pin diameters + the required running clearance) and pressed back into the rods.